Digital Device Usage and the Effects on your Eyes

It is estimated that approximately twenty eight percent of people spend at least ten hours or more a day on a digital device. With the growing reliance on digital devices, such as smart phones and computer monitors, Digital Eye Strain has become a common diagnosis with optometrists throughout the country.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Although Digital Eye Strain severity is on a spectrum varying from patient to patient, the symptoms of the condition include:

  • Dry or fatiqued eyes
  • Blurry vision

Most severity takes place after repeated use. However, acute symptoms may occur after as little as two or more hours at once after the use of a digital device. A sore back or neck may also occur, since some people have bad posture when sitting in front of a computer screen, for example.

How to Reduce Eye Strain

Since many people may experience eye strain without noticing, the best way to spot it before it becomes problematic is to keep up with annual eye exams. Whether the optometrist asks or not, it is important to let the doctor know an estimate of how much time per day you use a computer or smart phone. This may give the doctor the initiative to begin monitoring for eye strain from the beginning in case of any deterioration in your eyesight later.

Although you do not want the room to be pitch black, viewing digital devices requires less light than reading a book. Limit light by closing curtains. Position the computer so the windows are to the side or behind you. If you check your smart phone in bed when you can’t sleep, set the brightness of the phone display to a lower setting before going to bed, so the large blast of sudden light is less of a shock to your eyes when it gets turned on.

Although certain features of software functionality has been widely accepted by those who are visually impaired, they are also great ideas to prevent and reduce digital eye strain in those who have had no previous eye problems. The most common operating systems have a built in magnifier for small fonts, and the display itself can be customized with different sized fonts and color combinations. Working in full screen mode and zooming in to lessen the margins can be a tremendous help on lessening eye strain, as well as improving posture.

If your optometrist diagnoses digital eye strain, special computer eyewear, such as glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed. With the large amount of time that people are spending nowadays at the computer and as handheld devices come with smaller screens as time goes on, these steps to take care of your eyes can make sure that your vision lasts as long as it can as you get older.

Dr. Paul D. Trapeni JrAt The Optical Shoppe, we're dedicated to optometry excellence under the guidance of Dr. Paul D Trapeni. Serving the Smyrna community since 1989, Dr. Trapeni is a trusted member of the community, bringing general and specialized optometry care to individuals and families throughout the area.